I wanted to take a few minutes to share my thoughts on SB18-264 regarding preventing teachers union strikes:
I would never penalize a teacher. SB18-264 was a work in progress. While I supported the idea that union-led strikes harm students and should be discouraged, it always was my intention to amend the Senate bill to remove any penalties for teachers once the bill came to me in the House.
There are few jobs more important than that of a teacher. They sacrifice evenings and weekends to make sure our students have the best possible learning experience and each one of them deserves to be treated as a professional. I will not support a bill that penalizes them.
Instead, we will refocus this bill to prevent the harm that union strikes bring to our communities. Last week the teachers union in Pueblo (D60) voted to strike. This isn't productive. It hurts students, it hurts schools, it hurts the district, and it hurts the community. Across the state students are missing out on class time and parents are scrambling to fill the gaps left by strikes and walkouts.
The strikes and walkouts are focused on higher pay for teachers, but there are better ways to increase teacher pay. I'm an advocate for better teacher pay. I have fought for years to drive more money into the classroom and teacher paychecks. I voted for a school finance bill this session that, when all the the elements are combined, adds almost 10% more money to schools than last year. It’s vital that these dollars find their way into the classroom and higher pay for teachers. That’s a choice local districts need to make.
We must continue our work to improve educational opportunities and outcomes in Colorado and provide our teachers the support they need to help students reach their goals.
As always, I welcome your participation as we work to support teachers, engage parents, and improve educational opportunities for students in Colorado.